The growth in the American economy during the Obama years was so negligible it’s hardly worth the name. The Reagan boom that started when he succeeded in cutting the top margin rates ended when the sub-prime mortgage industry collapsed.
The economy is stagnant. America needs tax reform to get moving again. The “Better Way” plan being pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, while not perfect, is a good place to start. Unfortunately for us all there are too many people in Washington so married to one approach to tax reform or another they end up eagerly letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
What that means for you and me is efforts to reform the tax code may end up stillborn thanks to pundits and special interests who are trying to kill it before it ever has the chance to come before Congress. In a word it’s unacceptable to let the D.C. swamp dwellers thwart this once-in-a-generation opportunity lower the rates by eliminating deductions and credits - broadening the base as it were - and make the system simpler.
The American Action Network just released a poll looking at the attitudes toward tax reform among the people who put President Donald J. Trump and the Republican majorities in the House and Senate in office. It found an overwhelming number of the 1,000 likely Republicans voters of all stripes surveyed see tax reform as “very important.”
The two main worries identified by those in the poll - that the tax code is too complicated and that tax rates are too high - are heard often enough throughout all segments of the electorate who actually pay taxes on their income.
It’s probably not a stretch to presume the strong support among Republicans as found in the AAN poll for the broad principles of reform on which the GOP congressional plan is based similarly exists among Democrats and self-described independents. Everyone wants comprehensive tax reform if the result will be an economic expansion in which wages rise, jobs are created, new businesses set up shop, and there are increased opportunities for all.
If that sounds too perfect, well, consider the current code. It’s unfair to too many, it’s too complicated, and the rates are too high: there are seven different tax brackets for individuals and families; the corporate rate is the highest in the industrialized world, which is chasing U.S. business out of the country and leaving us at a global disadvantage.
President Trump and Congress have the opportunity to show real leadership by keeping the fight to replace our broken system moving. America needs a tax code that grows the economy, raises wages and creates jobs in America. Say “yes” to comprehensive tax reform and “no” to the special interests trying to stop it from moving forward.
Roff is a former senior political writer for UPI and a well-known commentator based in Washington, D.C. Email him at Peter.Roff@Verizon.net.